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all mythologies, to bring us back a treasure of the purest and most homebred feelings of the heart. Yet it is surely an error, which substitutes the private self-complacency of the author for the general satisfaction of the reader; for, after all, though we may in such cases admire, or rather wonder at the poet more, we certainly love the poem less. Mr. Milman thinks otherwise; his plot is a bad one, and he might, with little trouble, have amended it; but be has preferred the merit of conducting a bad plot with some in. genuity'; his characters are feeble and unamiable, and he might have easily made them less so, but he has preferred the task of interesting us in them, as they are.
And with all their faults, Fazio and Bianca do interest us. There is a goodness of nature about the former, which renders him an object of pity, even when his easiness leads him to the commission of vice; and in the midst of his follies, there is a quick perception of them, and a prompt self-condemnation, which redeem him from contempt. This is no unnatural union in the same character. Thus it is not without compunction, and perfectly undeceived, that he first rifles the treasures of Bartolo; and when his new fortunes bring around him the vain, the frivolous, the sycophantic, he is neither insensible of the motives or the unwor. thiness of such a train, nor duped by the professions made to him. One of them, Falsetto, addresses him thus :
• 1, my good Lord, am one
Who would not serve within the gorgeous palace,
Must lacquey his new state with these base jackalls.'—p. 19. When the poet addresses him in the same strain, he rises to a higher tone of indignant reprehension, and replies to him in spirited lines, which we may hereafter recall to the memory of our readers. So in every step leading to his last and fatal error, he retains the full consciousness of the heinousness of his offence; and in spite of passion, he exclaims, with a mournful confession of the imperfectness of vicious indulgence:
• Why should we dash the goblet from our lips,
that pale and clinging consequence Thrust itself ever 'twixt us and our joys ?' From the moment of his reverse, his character rises in dignity and interest; the agony which the unexpected sight of Bianca as his accuser produces is powerfully drawn, and as it should be shortly; feelings of a purer and softer nature succeed :
• Mine own Bianca-I shall need too much mercy
ianca, thou wilt love me when I'm dead;
I wronged thee, but thou'lt love me. The parting scene in prison is equally well executed; to some it may appear deficient in vehemence and depth of passion; we are not disposed to find this fault with it; it is not indeed so long, so laboured or so violent as many scenes under the same circumstances have been, but there is something very impressive in the despair of Bianca, and the tranquil fortitude of Fazio. No mur. murs of reproach or regret escape him; the thoughts of his orphan children for a moment agitate him, and when Bianca in her dis. traction talks ambiguously as if she had removed them from this world, in which their destiny seems so utterly forlorn, the feelings of the father and the christian are manifested still strong and predominant in the midst of so bitter a trial. The whole
The whole passage is so beautiful, that we cannot resist the pleasure of extracting it.
• Fazio, set me loose! Thou clasp'st thy murderess!
No, it is my love,
What had I freed them
Oh, thou hast not been
They live, thank God, they live!
Some whispering me, some dragging me,' &c. But it is Bianca after all, on whom the play mainly depends, and whose character the author has most laboured in drawing : his efforts have been attended with a success, on which we found our opinion, that Mr. Milman has one at least of the requisites for the line which he has chosen. To estimate the character properly, it must be considered at some length, and with reference to the whole play in every part; it will then be found consistent, and poetic. Nothing can be more simple; Bianca is a woman of ardent temper, and very strong affections; she has married a man whom she entirely and devotedly loves, but whom she knows to have been previously attached to another, and who still retains too manifest traces of that previous attachment, not to justify some anxiety on her part. With this key, every thing she says or does is natural and intelligible; the idea of Aldabella is a load eternally on her mind, it influences all her conduct, it colours all objects, it mingles with every thought, and finally it works her, as provocations make it more and more poignant, to absolute delirium. Thus in the first scene it appears in half-earnest raillery, which, drawing from Fazio a vehement defence of her rival, warms into serious invective upon her. In a subsequent scene, in which Fazio, meditating an injury, bends to the pitiful but common subterfuge of attempting to provoke his victim to give him some shadow of excuse, the ruling idea manifests itself immediately.
• What bath distemper'd thee? this is unnatural;
Thou hast seen Aldabella.? As the whole of this scene, both for subject matter and execution, is commendable, so is this passage singularly well imagined. The answers which Fazio gives her are very unsatisfactory, and her feelings grow stronger, and as they gradually open, her declarations prepare the reader for all that is to follow. The protracted visit to Aldabella at length rouses the visionary ardency of her temper beyond all control; the first scene of the third act paints the gradually growing agony, that ends in temporary delirium. We wish we could extract it entire, for it is scarcely doing it justice to give it partially; yet the opening soliloquy, in which the storm begins, is too beautiful to suffer from it.
• Not all the night, not all the long, long night
e unaccustom’d, unfamiliar sounds
Though he were fresh from Aldabella's arms.
Her arms—her viper coil! I had forsworn
Throb with the agony.'These lines demand no comment. The sentence which concludes them is immediately verified by the entrance of a servant, who had been despatched to learn news of his master; with every word that he utters, the misery and indignation of the unhappy Bianca increases. With somewhat of Othello's soul, and not, we think, without some involuntary resemblance of his language, she exclaims
He'll pause, and think which of the two is sweeter.' This lays the bleeding heart before us in the most pathetic manner, for there is nothing so moving as affectionate and pleading remonstrance after vehement indignation. We are by nature so prone to pity, that it is difficult to deny it even to guilt when it ceases to be dangerous and has begun to suffer; but it is wholly impossible to refuse it to undeserved affliction, when the object, abandoning all resistance or recrimination, and trusting neither to